Friday Coffee with PJ - Special Saturday Mid Morning Edition

I am just now finishing up my third (and final) cup of coffee of the morning. If you were looking for this post yesterday, my apologies. I ran out of week before I ran out of work!

1. First, an arm update. I am now up to doing two pound curls with my left arm. Monday, I move up to three! Wow! So things are progressing well, so it seems, with the repair of the biceps tendon. However, it is a different story with my wrist and hand. Not much change in the amount of pain and stiffness. I see the Orthopedic doctor on Tuesday. I would appreciate your prayers. Even though this is making my life hard at times ... I keep reminding myself that my life is still not nearly as hard as what some others are going through AND that, at the end of the day, God is ALWAYS good! Thanks for your prayers!

2. When I was in high school, I sang on year in the school choir. For our holiday concert, we sang the song, "Snow, Snow, When Are You Falling?" For folks in the Buffalo area, that is one question they need not ask. As you already have heard, some areas received about seven feet of snow! Seven feet! Ouch. That is way too much snow! Given the fact that I am physically limited, I am hoping that we see less than our fair share of snow this winter. But ... ultimately that is up to God, for He is sovereign ... and that means even over the amount of snow we receive (Job 37:6).

3.  It's a shame that the Thanksgiving holiday only comes around once a year. I simply love this holiday! I love getting together with our family. I love the smorgasbord of food that is prepared (and then consumed!), AND I love the time it affords me to sit back and count my blessings. Unfortunately, I fear that for so many of us ... we place the emphasis on the first two items on my "Why I Enjoy Thanksgiving" list and almost ignore the third. To help you prepare for Thanksgiving, I heartily recommend that you head over to Crossway's web site and sign up for Paul Tripp's Daily Thanksgiving Devotional (click here for the site). I have been using it from day one and have found it to be quite challenging and encouraging (I even shared one of the devotionals with my Life Group this past Thursday evening). So take the time to sign up ... and then read them when they arrive in your inbox. It will be time well spent!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

A Broken Tooth and the Providence of God!

As I was chewing on Sunday, I noticed biting down on something unexpectedly hard. A quick inspection revealed that the hard substance was a small piece of one of my teeth! Discouraged that I was going to have to make an unplanned visit to my dentist, I was grateful that I was not in pain.

Now that visit is in the rear view mirror of my life (VERY THANKFUL for that!). The appointment took longer than expected for I had not just one broken tooth ... but two! As the dentist drilled and grinded and scraped and all the other stuff dentists and their assistants do inside one's mouth, I thought, "Wow! forget water boarding. This would be the ultimate method of torture!" I can't tell you how glad I was to walk out of his office! Let's just say when he and his staff wished me a happy Thanksgiving ... I was thanking God that there was not a return trip to his office needed to finish the task!

Now ... what I just said, I said somewhat "tongue in cheek." It is true that I don't relish going to see the dentist. But I am very thankful for what he is able to do for me! The pain and discomfort that he does inflict upon me is for my good!

God, the almighty King of the universe, is sovereign over all. This means he is in control. Nothing occurs without his permission (we call this the providence of God). This can be a hard teaching of Scripture. Especially when tough things come our way. But when they do, we need to remind ourselves that God can take even terribly difficult circumstances and use them for our good (and ultimately His glory! -- Romans 8:28-29), So ... bottom line ... God had his reasons for allowing me to break a tooth (or two!). As for me ... I will trust that He knows what he's doing!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

Friday coffee with PJ

I hope you have your favorite brew of Java ready to sip as I share a few random thoughts with you.

1. If our weather outside is any indicator of the kind of winter we are going to have… I would love to take the first plane south! Yesterday morning as I was watching the news, the weather guy reported that the temperature (not wind chill) was 14 below zero in Denver. That is a whopping 39° below the average low temperature for Denver for this date (avg low is 25°). Now thankfully, as this cold air mass heads are away, it will moderate. So even though it will be cold, it won't be that cold! And perhaps that's how we're going to have to approach this upcoming winter. It may get cold and it may get snowy, but there's always places on this planet that will be colder and will have much more snow! Just saying!  So no matter what difficulty you may be facing in life, remind yourself that you're not alone, and that there are many others who are going through worst circumstances. And no matter how difficult your situation might be, if you have chosen to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, he has promised never to leave you nor forsake you! And that my friends, is quite the comfort!

2. As I write these words, Al Roker, the popular weatherman of NBC's today show, is trying to get his name into the Guinness book of world records. His goal is to, without interruption, report the weather for 34 consecutive hours. He is currently 18 hours in. Millions of people are watching via live stream on their computers and mobile devices. I must admit I just turned in to see how he was
doing. He is looking pretty tired. I have to ask myself why is he doing this? I know he's talking about raising money for charity. And I'm sure that's part of it.  In fact that might be the major part of it. And certainly his effort is connected with the fact that yesterday was Guiness Book of World Records Day. But all I can say is that I don't think I would ever launch out on such a feat. It would be like me preaching for 34 consecutive hours. That is something I would never attempt and certainly something my church family would not want to endure!!!

Thanks for stopping by ...

You Break It . . . You Buy It!

All of us have seen signs displayed in shops and stores that remind us that if we handle something and manage somehow to break it – then we must buy it.  Most of us would agree that would be the right thing to do.  If you break something in the store – why should the store owner suffer the loss because of your clumsiness?  So yes – you break it – you buy it makes a lot of sense.  But it can prove to be quite pricey, as millionaire Steve Wynn learned.  Several years ago, Wynn sold Picasso’s famous painting, “Dream” to a fellow art collector for 139 million dollars.  In showing the painting to someone in his office just after the sale, he inadvertently poked a silver-dollar sized hole in the canvas with his elbow.  Since he “broke it” – he released the buyer from the purchase.  So in effect, he bought the painting back.  We look at that and would all agree that it was the right thing for him to do.  He broke it – so he bought it!

When I look around at our world – I see a lot of brokenness.  Broken marriages, broken relationships, broken bodies, broken people.  And in the midst of all this brokenness, God did something totally unexpected.  He did not break anything – yet he sent His Son to purchase a broken people for Himself.  That is truly amazing.  When it comes to our life  – we broke it – yet God bought it!  And he paid a high price in doing so!   I encourage you to take a time out – right now!  Thank God for the high price He was willing to pay for your broken life – which you broke!  Praise Him for His love, His mercy and His grace!

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

Friday Coffee with PJ (Health update)

Well, the week got ahead of me again. So instead of Friday morning coffee with PJ this will be a special evening addition. Coffee is just as good at night (decaf) … At least in my book! Enjoy!

People keep asking me how my rehab is coming along in the aftermath of my biceps tendon repair surgery. I have been doing some, but the more aggressive rehab has been a bit delayed by a new development. At my rehab session on Monday, the physical therapist, as he was working with my very stiff wrist, asked me, "was there anything wrong with your wrist before the surgery?" I quickly responded with an emphatic "No!" So I asked him if this degree of wrist stiffness was common with this type of surgery. He told me it was not. So that really got me thinking. So Tuesday morning I called the orthopedic office. I talked with the admin assistant to my doctor, and by the end of the day I had a prescription for a steroid and an appointment to see the doctor today. At that appointment, they took a couple x-rays of my wrist and hand. The results showed that I apparently have Ulnar Impaction Syndrome (even after reading the definition, I am still not quite sure what it is… I only know that it hurts!). The doctor is not sure why it flared up at this point. He said it's possible that it's due to the way they had to position my wrist during the surgery… But that's only a guess on his part. Of course as I told him, starting this whole surgery following a week of battling a kidney stone, I'm not surprised that something else has raised its ugly head! As a result of his diagonsis, I received an injection right in the sore spot of my wrist. Painful ... Yup! But I am hopeful that this will relieve a lot of the pain and stiffness so I can get on with my rehab for my surgical repair (which the doctor did check and said it is looking very good!) 

My wife recently asked me if there was a verse from the Bible that I was looking to for strength. I told her there was not a specific verse but rather a specific concept. And that concept is the providence of God. I believe the Scripture teaches very clearly that God is sovereign. He is in control of all things. He has a plan for the human race… And that includes me. So all that's been happening lately is all part of his plan for me. And as Romans 8:28-29 indicates, God is at work in even the hard things of life for my good (and His glory!). Of course "my good" is to become more like God's son Jesus Christ.

When you think of me, I'd appreciate your prayers. I want to go through this process in a way that brings glory to my king!

Thanks for stopping by, 


We Must not Forget Our Persecuted Brothers and Sisters!

It is so easy living here in our comfortable affluent country, to forget about those suffering in other parts of the world . . . including those suffering because of their faith in Christ. However, we must not forget them. In fact, God tells us that we are to remember them (Hebrews 13:3). For in remembering them, we can stand with them in prayer, asking God to give them the grace to stand without wavering in their commitment to Christ, even in the face of life-threatening persecution.

Here is a five minute video from The Voice of the Martyrs. It is not an easy video to watch. But standing for Christ is not always easy, especially in other parts of our world. Please take a moment to watch this video ... and then pray for the persecuted church!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

Friday Coffee with PJ

Friday morning means COFFEE! (frankly, every morning means coffee for me)! So why not pour yourself a cup of your favorite brew and join m...